Self-Care

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

This is the phrase I have found myself repeating unconsciously after hearing my 5-year-old daughter say it enough times: "Easy peasy lemon squeezy." It's basically another way of saying, "No big deal."

Things that used to be tough for Zoe that now fall into the “easy peasy lemon squeezy” category: 

  • Zipping up her coat
  • Writing her full name 
  • Drawing a picture of mommy (one of her masterworks →)
  • Getting dressed all by herself 
  • Scooting down the NYC streets like she owns them (while I slowly hold my breathe)

Mysteries Around The Corner

Mysteries Around The Corner

After what has been a fulfilling summer where I was able to find some moments to unwind, just like you (probably), I am returning from summer plugged into my device way more than I want to be — focusing on the news, my calendar, work, and preparing for the general whirlwind that is September. Thankfully, though, I got a wake-up call over the weekend that reminded me just how important it is to pay attention. And I don't mean to your phone. I'm talking about your surroundings.

Striking The Balance

Striking The Balance

Let’s face it, the summer months require us to let go of any expectation for maintaining our routine.  I love my routine, but I have to admit I also love taking a break from it! As we enter August, perhaps you are returning from vacation or gearing up to travel some more before Labor Day. If you are like me, you are back and forth all summer long, splitting your time between work and travel, which can be wonderful and/or stressful, depending on your experience. However you see it, here are some tips to help you strike the balance this summer between making the most of your vacation time and being productive while at work.  

Goodbye 2016!

Goodbye 2016!

2016. What a year! I've heard so many people (personally and in the media) say that this is one of the worst years in recent memory. And, while 2016 has undoubtedly been a chaotic one (particularly from a social/political POV), I don't want to blanket-statement it with "worst year ever." Like many others, I'm happy to welcome in 2017, but I also have some fond memories from the past year, both personally (watching my daughter grow into this amazing little person) and professionally (I can't tell you how many times I've come out of a coaching session feeling energized and inspired by my clients).

Let the healing begin

Let the healing begin

Let's just start with the obvious: It's been a tumultuous week. Over the past six months (at the very least), the tension surrounding the presidential election grew increasingly worse on a daily basis until it seemed as if it had reached an untenable peak last Tuesday. Shockingly, things only got worse from there.

Confession: This election wrecked me. I felt as if the foundation of all my ideals as an American, a woman, and a mother came under assault in ways that I'd never imagined. In the aftermath, I've felt deep sadness, frustration, anger, and fear (particularly when it comes to thinking of the results in the context of my 4-year-old daughter, Zoe). Regardless of which side of the coin you fall on, the general mood of the country seems to be one of confusion regarding our future.

Wiping the slate clean

Wiping the slate clean

Let's see a show of hands. How many of you took some time off this summer?

Hmmm. Interesting. It looks like quite a few of you did. Okay, let's be a little more specific. How many of you actually "got away from it all?" By this, I mean that you disconnected from everything — you were able to step away from your job or daily routine and you focused exclusively on enjoying yourself and spending time with family or friends. Let's see another show of hands.

Accepting the roller coaster

Accepting the roller coaster

I'm big on metaphors. Anyone who coaches with me knows this. There's something about an image — a visual representation — that just locks in an idea for me. Even better, I've found that the perfect metaphor can resonate universally; it's a powerful tool that can connect a vast amount of people in a very simply way. This proved true just recently in a group coaching session at One on One — I threw out the idea that navigating a career in this business is a lot like being on a roller coaster, and the entire room gave a collective sigh and emphatic "YES!"

The season of preparing

The season of preparing

November is here(!) and that means that the holidays are almost upon us. I don't know about you, but I swear that time keeps moving faster and faster. Before we know it, it'll be 2014 and we'll look back upon these next two months in a haze of confusion, wondering if they ever really happened or if we simply dreamt them up one cold wintry evening. The point being that, while the holidays are usually the most fun, celebratory, and romantic of months, they can also be hectic, tension-filled, and overwhelming. And that sort of breakneck pace can affect not only your personal life, but your professional one as well. It's all too easy to lose site of the track and run your career right off the rails during the holidays. But it doesn't have to be that way. So, what can you do to keep everything copacetic? Let's take a look at five easy tips to keep you on the up and up...

Mantra Amazement!

Mantra Amazement!

Wow. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about all of the absolutely amazing mantras we received throughout this month's Mantra Challenge. As someone who loves mantras, this challenge was right up my alley — but I wasn't sure what kind of response we'd get from you. Quite frankly, I was blown away by how you all took to this and gave it everything you had. I was not only heartened by your commitment, I was also greatly inspired by the unique and personal submissions that came through my inbox — your words were truly beautiful.

The Capes Coaching Mantra Challenge!

The Capes Coaching Mantra Challenge!

I want to let you in on a little secret: When it comes to maintaining balance in my life (whether dealing with my career, my relationships, or —as of recently — raising a child), I love mantras. I love coming up with one because it requires me to take stock and focus on what I really need. I love that my mantras are tailored to me and my inclinations. And most of all, I love that something so simple can have such a profound effect. Those of you who have coached with me probably already know this because I have likely encouraged you to come up with your own mantras; for those of you who are unfamiliar with them, it's my great pleasure to introduce you.

Hello 2012!

Hello 2012!

Happy New Year! It’s my pleasure to welcome you back – I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and were able to get some down time in, no matter how briefly. I’m sure you’re all revved up and ready to sprint into 2012, right? Time to roar out of the gate and just go go go like there’s no tomorrow! Ehhh…not so fast. The thing about the beginning of the year is that we usually swing into it with a lot excitement and some pretty high expectations. And I think it’s great to be excited about a fresh start and motivated to make the most of life. But, January 1st can also come with a little bit of pressure. You know what I’m talking about if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by everything you just heaped onto your aspirational plate at the end of the 2011. There’s so much you WANT to do, but when it comes to actually making those aspirations a reality you start to wonder if your eyes weren’t a little too big for your stomach.

Goodbye 2011!

Goodbye 2011!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s here already! The 29-Day Giving Challenge ends tomorrow, which also means that the holidays are literally upon us. I don’t know about you, but the time just flew right by for me (in the best possible way – I had SO much fun!), and now I’m getting ready to take it all in and reflect on the experience. Before I go on, though, I want to take a moment to recap the giveaway requirements, just so we’re all on the same page.

DO YOUR JOB

DO YOUR JOB

I want to share something that I find absolutely inspiring. It’s a TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, on nurturing creativity. I know that it’s been around for a couple of years, so some of you may already be familiar with it. But, I think that the message she delivers about the creative expectations that artists place upon themselves (and that the world places upon them) is worth repeated viewings. In fact, I think it should be requiredviewing for anyone pursuing a career in the arts.

Take a walk around the block. No, seriously.

Walking Men My last blog post on rituals seemed to strike a chord with a lot of you, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. Whenever I introduce the idea to clients of mine, they almost universally take to it with much enthusiasm. I think that part of the reason for this is that rituals are simple in concept, yet hold great resonance when applied to your life. What’s not to love?

As a follow-up, I want to share with you a grounding ritual that I used to give as an assignment in one of my classes. Let me tell you, it was always a big hit. Again, on its surface, it doesn’t seem like much (the basis of it is a walk around the block), but the shift in focus that it creates tends to surprise people. It’s something that I still do on a regular basis when I need to ground myself, and I’d love for everyone reading this to give it a try and see what happens.

So, to do this, pretend that you’ve arrived at my virtual classroom, and on the chalkboard are the following instructions for a silent walking meditation. If you’re able to do this right now, go for it. If you’re reading this while you’re busy doing something else, or you simply don’t have 10 minutes to spare right now, I suggest you print out this blog post and find 10 minutes in the next day to give it a go. In either case, just give it a try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

GROUNDING RITUAL: SILENT WALKING MEDITATION

  1. Follow these instructions IN SILENCE
  2. You are going to walk around the block in your own time TWICE.
  3. For the first lap around the block, I want you to purposely think about whatever is on your mind. Let the chatter and the voices run free and rant during the first lap around the block.
  4. For the second lap, I want you to let go of ALL thoughts and be as present as possible. Check in with all of your senses—notice everything around you: the sounds, smells, sights, even touch a building or notice if someone brushes past you. Make sure you take at least 10 conscious breaths during this second lap. Stay present and silent as you make your way back inside.
  5. Get out a pen and paper and free write about what you experienced. Use the following questions to get started: a. What was the difference for you between the two laps around the block? b. What did you find challenging? c. What did you enjoy? d. How did you like this ritual? e. What did you learn?

Leave a comment on this blog sharing any or all of your answers to the questions above. I can’t wait to hear about your experience with this ritual. Have fun!

My love affair with rituals...

So, I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I love rituals. They make me feel calm, grounded and bring me instantly back to my center. Plain and simple. I also love them because once one becomes ingrained in my life, it’s one less decision I have to make in my day. Rituals mean different things to different people, but I like to think of them simply as repeated actions that have a lasting impact on my well-being, like taking a yoga class. For some of you, this type of ritual could include going to the gym, taking voice lessons, or reading the news at the same time every morning with your coffee or tea.

Now, I love checking things off my to-do list with the best of them, but the things that end up on that list are usually one-time tasks, which I like to call Completions. These are immediate actions that, once we take them, aren’t really thought about again, like calling my bank to ask about setting up a new savings account, or picking up my sister at the airport. Both Rituals and Completions involve taking action toward getting what you want. However, rituals tend to be more powerful when implemented because they can have a long-term, life-changing impact. So, while they may require a more serious commitment on your part to initiate, if you can stay committed to repeating an action long enough, it will become a habit, or in other words, a given.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrJaN-OD1ig]There are certain rituals in my life that have stuck since the beginning, like brushing my teeth before going to bed — that’s a no-brainer (and, if you do like the Muppets do, it's FUN!). And then there are other rituals that I have a more complicated relationship with, like meditation. Now, I’m a firm believer in meditation and I’ve done it long enough to know its benefits. But, if I’m being really honest (which I believe is an essential part of my job as a coach, even in my blogs — especially in my blogs!), then it’s time to confess — I’ve been struggling with my meditation practice lately. I just don’t want to do it. But guess what? It doesn’t matter! My body is already doing it before my mind has a chance to talk me out of it. That’s the beauty of long-term rituals: I do them regardless of the mood I’m in. In this case, meditation is non-negotiable because it’s a built-in ritual and I know it’s good for me in the long run, regardless of whether or not I want to do it on a given day. I simply do it, rain or shine, good mood or bad, light or busy schedule.

Norman Mailer, who had a strict writing regimen, highlighted the value of rituals when he said, “Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below, I will be there to write.” An invaluable lesson to not only all of you writers out there (who undoubtedly know the necessity of writing rituals), but to everyone else who wants to affect change in their life.

So, as you continue with your week, I challenge you to look more closely at the rituals in your life that are working for you. What about them works? Do they involve other people? Are they critical to your health? What compels you to show up time and again for yourself? And what’s one NEW ritual that you’re ready to commit to beginning? Think about what your needs are and make sure you’re clear about what the commitment entails before you blindly commit. Make it count.

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions, so feel free to share in the comments below. There’s a lot we can learn from each other about what makes certain types of rituals stick, so don’t be shy! And be sure look out for Part 2 of this week’s blog focus on rituals…I’m going to share some great stuff with you, including one of my favorite grounding rituals!